GOWANDA — Gowanda’s Historic Hollywood Theater is shining in the autumn sunshine thanks to a recent facelift.
Once the theaters’ most unique and recognizable features, a Tympanum of painted brickwork above a semi-circular arch with the name “HOLLYWOOD” on it that faces North Main Street.
These outstanding features rise above the marquee and easily distinguish the Hollywood as the centerpiece of the Gowanda Village Historic District, said Deb Harris of the Hollywood.
“With the Hollywood’s iconic marquee still removed for restoration, masons and restoration specialists working on lift equipment have been busy working on the upper façade of the theater,” Harris said. “What they found were loose and chipped bricks, layers of peeling paint and cracked and broken wooden letters spelling out the name ‘Hollywood.’”
Masons removed, secured and pointed several rows of brick work.
After removing layers of light blue paint, Brett Swiatek of Swiatek Studios, discovered that the original color of the masonry arch was a much deeper blue. He scraped off the layers of faded paint and repainted the arch in the original shade of cobalt blue.
Harris said, “The original wooden letters were held together in brittle pieces and could no longer be restored. Steve Swiat, of Northwood Restoration, fabricated replicas of the original letters out of medium density urethane. The letters were gilded in 22k gold leaf and installed.”
The restoration of the Façade was made possible with funds from the State Office of Historic Preservation and a 2019 grant from the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo.
“Cars along Main Street have been going just a little bit slower as drivers take a peek at the façade improvements,” Harris said. “When the marquee is re-installed, the Hollywood should stop traffic all together.”